A Solid Foundation

To prepare for the inauguration, many of D.C.’s transportation routes will be impassable during the day’s events. With costs adding up to a projected $30 million, certain roads and Metro stations will be closed, the Arlington Memorial Bridge will only be open to pedestrians, and the city will be full of temporary chain-link fences.

In addition to these broader, citywide accommodations, the most symbolic structural element of the ceremonies is the Inauguration Platform, upon which the President-elect will take the oath of office and deliver his inaugural address.

Physical construction of the 10,000 square foot platform starts from scratch each year with the First Nail Ceremony, held this cycle on September 21, 2016. To kick off proceedings, leaders of the Senate and House of Representatives hammered the first nails into the platform. From there, construction of the platform constituted quite the undertaking. Trees were uprooted, a fountain was temporarily filled in, and some marble was removed to allow 1,600 people to fit on stage. In addition, bleachers above the platform were constructed to hold 1,000 additional spectators.

Of course, not all 800,000 projected visitors can fit on the bleachers. Ever since President Reagan's inauguration in 1981, the platform has faced the west side of the Capitol so spectators can watch the proceedings from the National Mall.

An Exceptional Inauguration

The government and military aren’t the only groups planning for the inauguration. At least a dozen protest groups will be in D.C. that weekend as well, most notably the Women’s March on Washington. A project that began with a Facebook group, the Women’s March on Washington has since grown into a formidable movement with 200,000 protesters set to attend.

In anticipation of crowds that may swell up to 400,000 on January 20, law enforcement will keep personnel in place through Saturday. Christopher T. Geldert, the Director of Homeland Security for the District of Columbia, told the New York Times, “We’re basically not going to stand anything down after the inauguration. We’re leaving that stuff in place,” referring to the police and National Guard.

All in all, this inauguration — similarly to this election — is likely to be different than the ones that came before. Putting together such a large, visible event takes bipartisan cooperation and an efficient chain of command.

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